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The Kindergarten Prince

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Jaebum likes kids. He really, really does, and he wishes to have a few of his own sometime in the future, so he thinks nothing much of it when the manager stops by the dorm one day to announce that they'll be joining a new variety program, and that it involves children. They're only supposed to take care of them for a few hours per day at the filming site, and their parents will be close by to ensure that everything flows smoothly.

He's kind of excited, even, intrigued by the idea of playing with cute 3-year-olds and maybe even teaching them something. It will be good practice if nothing else, he reasons, and looks around the room to gauge the reactions of his members. His hopes of the filming going smoothly are shattered the second he catches sight of Yugyeom and Bambam grinning cheekily at each other and he nearly panics at the thought of the duo, literally kids themselves, being allowed around actual preschoolers.

And then – on the other side of the room, he sees Jinyoung standing closely to Mark, carefully shaved chin on the elder’s shoulder, and smiling – and, wow, that's a pretty smile. Genuine too, with the way his eyes crinkle around the corners, and Jaebum suddenly feels giddy at the display of Jinyoung's obvious excitement. The younger is a sucker for kids, really, and surprisingly great with them – he knows just what to say and how to act to make them giggle and kiss his cheeks – which he, of course, rewards with eye-catching smiles and out-of-this-world baby talk.

Okay – Jaebum might be a bit too much in love with Jinyoung, but everything about him is so attractive and the way he expertly handles kids is just another thing on the long list of his qualities (handwritten by Jaebum himself, mind you). Not that he would ever admit it out loud, but still. Jinyoung is wonderful.

He attempts to look around again and not stare too much, but despite all his efforts his eyes seem to find their way back to where Jinyoung is looking all soft and comfy in his pajamas and happy, and he thinks now that even with Yugyeom and Bambam in tow, it won't be too bad having to film this kind of program. In fact, it might just become his favourite.

∞∞∞

The first day of filming starts way too early, and they're ushered out of the vans at 6:30am. Jaebum has barely slept all night, and he feels the tiredness weighting his eyelids down, not unlike the rest of the team. All except one person, who seems to be far too excited for such an early morning.

Jinyoung walks ahead of them, a bounce in his step as he hurries to reach the preschool first, as if that will automatically mean that he'll get to meet the kids sooner. They still have an hour and a half until the kids actually start arriving to go through informational meetings and the schedule with the staff , but his excitement is kind of cute anyway. He's dressed up for the occasion too, with a bright orange sweatshirt and denim suspenders that make him fit into the setting just about right. Jaebum looks down onto his baggy jeans self-consciously, and hopes that at least some of the boys will appreciate his hip-hop style. Or, you know. Whatever.

As time passes by and they go through the basics with the preschool staff, the other members seem to wake up, and by 7:45 it’s as lively as it usually is with their group. It’s something they’re known for now, unlike back then when it was just him and Jinyoung, too young and slightly awkward in each other’s presence, but too immature to deal with their issues. He actually misses it sometimes, the calm atmosphere despite the fact that his temper used to get the best of him and that Jinyoung had to act extra cute in front of the camera to make up for his poorly disguised scowls and glares. It’s all behind them down, he and Jinyoung have found ways to quell their differences and now they seem to fit together, like two puzzle pieces slotting perfectly together, completing each other’s vain spots. They get teased for it often, and he’s heard enough people calling them soulmates to truly pay attention to it anymore. Even though, he can’t deny the warm feeling that spreads in his chest when he thinks about the possibility.

And even now, as they’re getting ready to greet the children for the first time, his eyes instinctively look over his group members to make sure everyone’s in place and that no one is off God-knows-where doing something stupid, but his gaze stops at Jinyoung sitting by the low table with his legs crossed in front of him and a hand tapping his own knee impatiently.

His face his half-turned to the female staff giving last advice to his right, but his eyes are unblinkingly staring at the double doors where the children will come through any second now. It’s endearing, but Jaebum fears that his neck might get strained like that, so he snaps his fingers shortly until he gains his teammate’s attention. He doesn’t need words to convey the message to Jinyoung, they communicate with their gazes and Jaebum lifts a hand to loosely point to Jinyoung’s right, and the younger pouts at him but turns his body completely away to focus on the staff member. She seems grateful for the action, and Jaebum tries to stomp down on the feeling that rose in his chest when Jinyoung pouted at him like that. He weirdly feels like he stole a piece of candy from some kid.

There’s not much time to dwell on it, however, as the first set of children enter the room just at that moment. They’re two little boys, similar in height, and they’re holding hands. It’s a cute sight and Jaebum smiles unwillingly, eyes creasing into small slits. Someone coos behind him, but he can’t turn to look at who it is when Jinyoung is suddenly moving forward on his knees, dragging his clothed knees across the floor in a funny way. He’s smiling at the two boys and bows his head to them, as if he’s regarding them completely seriously.

“Hiiii,” he drawls, a high pitch to his voice. “My name is Jinyoung. What are your names, cuties?”

The kids bow to him clumsily, and Jaebum is impressed by their manners already. He wonders if it had anything to do with the fact that Jinyoung did it to them first.

“I’m Jinhwan, and this is Seungjoon,” the taller of the two introduces, and Jaebum notices he’s missing a tooth in the front. It’s very cute, and apparently Jinyoung thinks so too because he coos and reaches out a hand to pinch his cheek. Jinhwan giggles and it’s enough for the rest of the members to join in.

The tension slowly resolves and none of them seem to be as nervous about meeting the children as they did before. Mark is the first one to step forward and bend down to greet them in simple Korean, having had experience with small children back in Los Angeles. He stands by Jinyoung and rests a hand on the younger’s shoulder where Jinyoung’s still kneeling, now moving a bit to sit back on his heels. Mark receives similar toothy smiles and clumsy bows from the brothers, and Jaebum notices Jinyoung covering his smile with a hand.

He decides then that it’s time to introduce himself and try to score in some points with the children early, despite having an idea that Jinyoung’s already snatched first place in the race, effortlessly.

But he’s not the leader for nothing, and he walks coolly up the where the kids are occupied with answering Jinyoung and Mark’s questions, and not-so-subtly pushes Mark out of his spot (merely because Jinyoung would be near damn impossible to move, and because he might not actually mind Jinyoung being so close to him).

Succeeding with the first part of his mission, he grins to the best of his abilities and bends down in a swift motion.

“Hello! I’m JB,” he says, smile still in place.

It takes about three seconds for Seungjoon to start crying.

He panics, standing up when he sees the kid’s eyes filling with tears, real tears because of him, and even Jinhwan looks scared and backs away slightly, pulling his brother with him. He can literally feel his cheeks burning and he splutters, unsure of what to do now.

The members laugh behind him and he hears some of the staff chuckling too, all except Jinyoung who is now focused on the crying child. He moves forward slowly as not to aggravate the spooked children further, and shushes them both in gentle tones. Jaebum watches numbly as the kid that started crying from merely seeing his face now throws his arms around Jinyoung’s neck and holds on for dear life, letting Jinyoung – the traitor – envelop him in his arms and rock him back and forth to calm him.

Jinyoung rubs his little back soothingly and unwraps an arm to reach for Jinhwan too, pulling the young boy closer so that he’s able to join the impromptu hug too. Out of the corner of his eye, Jaebum sees the brothers’ parents standing anxiously just behind the cameras, ready to jump in if necessary and help comfort the children.

It doesn’t end up being the case, and they all watch wordlessly as Jinyoung works his way around the children’s tears and snotty noses, constantly rubbing gentle hands over their backs and tummies, dealing out affection equally and whispering "my babies, who made you cry, huh" in a sugary voice.

It’s an endearing sight, and Jaebum’s sure he would have appreciated it much more if it weren’t him who made the kids cry, and he listens, chest tightening in pain and embarrassment, as Jinyoung continues: "a bad hyung, was it, hm? a scary hyung? shh, shh, little babies."

He takes a step back, face red, and catches Jackson’s teasing eyes when he turns around to hide from the children’s sight, lest he makes them cry again. Mark laughs as he passes by him too, and Jaebum thinks it must be karma for pushing him away earlier.

Yes, that has to be it, karma. It wouldn’t be anything else, would it? There’s no way Jaebum is bad with kids, there’s absolutely no way. He’ll show them all! …preferably tomorrow.

Chapter Text

The rest of the day goes fairly well. Jaebum doesn’t make any more kids cry, which he counts as a success on his part (his criteria has been lowered significantly but well, he doesn’t think he gets much choice now). Jinyoung on the other side remains the freaking star of the preschool. It’s equal parts annoying and adorable, and as they get introduced to more and more children, Jinyoung’s two little boys stick to him like second skin. It looks kind of funny, because everywhere Jinyoung moves – Jinhwan and Seungjoon follow. The sight reminds Jaebum of Jinyoung’s self-proclaimed mom role from when they first debuted as GOT7, the younger looking strangely like a mother duck with a trail of youngsters following his every step.

The other members have infiltrated themselves among the children fairly well, and Jaebum spies Mark in the opposite corner, surrounded by a horde of girls and boys alike, all falling helplessly in love with his read hair and contagious smile. And he isn’t even doing much! – which is completely unfair in Jaebum’s opinion. Jackson’s attempting to impress some boys with bad imitations of animals, although it seems much more entertaining for the female staff around him. Jaebum lets him be and turns to pitifully mourn his destiny in his own designated corner.

He sulks for a while, pretending not to notice the staff waving him over to interact with the children until Youngjae gets up from his spot and drags him all the way there. They settle in the middle of the circle, surrounded by children, and Jaebum watches idly as Youngjae play around with two little girls, rolling around and laughing. Another little girl sits quietly next to Jaebum and fiddles with her braids.

Jaebum turns to look at her cautiously, half-afraid that she’ll start to cry, but she only looks at him shortly before returning her attention to her hair. Jaebum notices that one of the strands of her shoulder-length brown hair has been pulled out of the hair tie.

“Your braids are so pretty, did you mom make them?”

The little girl nods silently. It’s not quite the enthusiastic answer he was hoping for, but it’s something. He tries again, encouraged by the fact that she still hasn’t run off.

“Do you want some help with that?”

The girl looks up at him curiously, as if assessing his braiding skills just by his face, which he hopes is sincere and gentle enough. He tries to smile sweetly and she shrugs with too much attitude for a barely three-year-old, pulling the hair tie completely off and turning her back on him.

Doing a small victory dance in his spot, Jaebum leans closer and starts running his fingers through her hair to untangle it, and once he’s done he stares helplessly at the side of the girl’s head that’s left unbraided. Jaebum doesn’t know how to braid.

The silence lasts a few minutes longer as he runs his hands through her hair again, probably messing it up by this point, and attempting loosely to imitate the pattern on the left side of her head.

“Hyeon-ah, I don’t think this is going to work,” he admits in the end, and the child shrugs again.

“Jinyoung-oppa knows how to,” are the first words she says to him – and of course Jinyoung knows. Of course.

He sighs, pulling away slightly and putting the hair tie into her outstretched hand.

“Then let’s ask Jinyoung for help, yeah?”

She gives him her hand when they stand up, and they walk together to the second playroom where Jinyoung is reading a story to a small group of girls. They all stare at him with eyes wide in wonder as he imitates each character’s voice perfectly, facial expressions and gestures only aiding to the believable story reading.

“-so the prince kisses her slowly!” he pauses for a dramatic effect, puckering his pouty lips slightly and smacking them loudly right after, “and then they lived happily ever after!” Jinyoung finishes, closing the book on his lap with a satisfied sigh.

The little girls around him all giggle and then Jiyeon, who seems to be the oldest of the group, points a finger at him and yells: “Jinyoung-oppa looks like a prince!”

The exclamation gains attention of nearly all people present, and whereas the girls cheer and giggle ever louder, agreeing and even attempting to reach up for his face, Jinyoung reddens and laughs, eye wrinkling up at the corners prettily. Jaebum hears Mark join in from behind him as the older carries in a small baby in his arms and walks over to where Jinyoung is still covering his face with his hands.

The little girls therefore unanimously vote Jinyoung to be the prince of the kindergarten. With his gentle face features and even gentler hands when he takes care of them - as well as the princely manners, none of the members are surprised, although Jackson calls out a loud “our prince Jinyoungiiiiiiie” in an obnoxiously loud voice that makes Jinyoung attempt to hide his face in Mark’s shoulder.

“Then what should we name our prince, hm?” Mark asks Jiyeon, since she was the one to proclaim Jinyoung a princely figure in the first place.

“Yah, Mark-hyung, isn’t my name already good enough?” Jinyoung protests weakly, only to be completely ignored.

“Should we give him a really good name, hm?” Mark asks again, persistent. Jaebum suspects he’s got something in mind, but doesn’t dare ask yet.

Jinyoung smiles, watching as the little girl puts a finger on her chin as she thinks hard about it. They all stay silent for a few seconds, Mark still bent over at the kids’ height and waiting for an answer.

“Because Jinyoungie is a peach,” Mark tells the little girls then, and Jiyeon regards him seriously.

“A peach?” she repeats, unconvinced.

“Yes, a peach,” he says, nodding his head seriously. Jaebum cracks a smile, snorting. Of course.

The little girl looks at him for a few more seconds before shrugging her shoulders and turning to run away, untamed bangs flopping across her forehead as she bounces away from them. She’s apparently given up on giving Jinyoung a proper nickname, and some of the girls stand up to follow her too. Jaebum marks mutely that she’s treated as a leader of their small group.

Mark straightens up and he and Jinyoung look at each other, laughing for a moment in embarrassment. Jinyoung covers his mouth with his hand.

“A peach, really, hyung,” he says, eyes crinkling up at the corners. Mark shrugs, unaffected.

“That’s how it is,” he sing-songs, and then there’s another kid running his way and latching at his pant leg like a monkey hanging from a bar. He bends down at the waist to pick the kid up, kicking and laughing as if Mark’s torturing him. Jinyoung raises both hands in surrender.

“I’m out,” he calls, a teasing smile on his face as he leaves Mark the deal with the little devil. Jinyoung’s got princesses to save elsewhere, after all.

 

∞∞∞

 

The peachy prince nickname sticks though, quite unexpectedly in Jinyoung’s opinion. The rest of the members however don’t seem genuinely surprised when the children call him that throughout the day, so he suspects that at least some of them had something to do with it, but he unfortunately has no proof to hold over their heads. It’s okay, though. If there’s one thing Park Jinyoung is good at, it’s revenge.

Chapter Text

On the second day of their filming, Jackson gets to be the fairy, much to Jinyoung’s silent dismay since his planned revenge gets delayed.

He complains but gives up in the end when he finds no support in the other members, crying loudly about betrayal and whining that Jaebum, of all, should save him as the leader of the team. Jaebum laughs at his misery and throws him the pig-tailed wig they used at their concerts for dressing up as girls, and Jackson proceeds to wail even louder.

It doesn’t help, and ten minutes later everyone is preoccupied playing with the children when the doors to the playroom open and in walks what looks to be Jackson – admittedly a much girlier version. He’s docked in a red dress that ends just below his knees – decent enough for being around children and now having to worry about flashing his undershorts every time he bends down to be at their eyelevel – and he’s wearing high white socks. The wig is securely in place and Jinyoung cracks up when he sees the makeup on his face – even more than usual. He’s got shiny pink lip gloss on and fake eyelashes that curl up high.

A look around the room leaves him with a sight of Jaebum laughing silently in the corner, shoulders rising and falling with inaudible laughter. They can’t blow Jackson’s cover, after all, since it seems that the kids didn’t quite catch up yet.

“Hello everyone!” Jackson drawls in extremely high-pitched voice, and Jaebum bends over laughing.

As payback, the fairy-Jackson turns Jaebum into a frog and makes him go around on all fours, jumping like a fool as the children and staff alike laugh, and he thinks as he forces a smile on his face that Jackson is so getting it for this later. He’s more of an evil witch than a goodly fairy at this point, but he’s got no choice but to continue making frog noises. He bumps into a laughing Bambam a bit harder then he needs to when he passes by him, and the younger stumbles but only laughs louder at his leader.

The next one he passes is Yugyeom, and the younger bumps a fist in the air and exclaims childishly: you can do it, Im leader! Fighting! and Jaebum suddenly wishes to just stand up and kick all their asses for making him embarrass himself like this.

But then he’s still hopping around, thighs aching already from the uncomfortable position when a childish voice calls out.

“But! Fairy! How does he turn back to human?”

Jaebum stops in his tracks, using the moment to rest as he sees Jackson pausing to think of a proper answer when a slightly taller girl nudges the one who asked with her elbow.

“Don’t be a pabo, Shin-ya. Of course the prince has to kiss him, don’t you know the story?”

It seems like the world has stopped the moment her words register into his mind and Jaebum freezes. They all seem to pause for a second before all hell breaks loose – laughter can be heard from all sides yet he can only focus on the loud thumping of his heart in his ears. The prince has to kiss him – the story – fuck. And wasn’t it a princess, anyway?

They both attempt to protest, Jinyoung waving his hands and stepping back slightly, only to be pulled back and dragged over to where Jaebum’s still squatting by Yugyeom and a laughing Youngjae.

In the end, they get no choice but to follow through the wishes of the children and of course, the fairy’s orders, and Jinyoung kisses his cheek as the children watch with wide eyes and the members coo at them, Yugyeom even jumping up with a “JJ project! JJcross!” like the overgrown brat he is.

It barely lasts a second and Jinyoung’s lips don’t linger on his cheek, but it still feels extremely warm after the younger pulls away and Jaebum is vividly aware of how red his ears are becoming too. Jinyoung stands to the side, laughing embarrassedly, like he’s never kissed his leader’s cheek before and like he hadn’t sunk his teeth into the same cheek months ago on that one show when they were promoting their new album.

The place where his lips touched burns though, and Jaebum wipes at his cheek with his hand and exaggerates a disgusted reaction, pulling a face when the cameraman nears him to film his face.

He’s let out of his frog-predicament right after though, saved by his prince, and that at least he’s thankful for.

That’s at least until one of the kids asks: “and what happens now?” curiously, and the same girl from before yells loudly: “now they get married and live happily after, of course! Don’t you know anything?!”

Jaebum kind of starts to hate the fairytales.

 

∞∞∞

 

That night in their dorm, most of the members are in their rooms or laying around the kitchen, but Jaebum flops heavily onto the couch in front of the TV in their shared living room. His back aches in protest at the action and he grunts, catching attention of Jinyoung’s who’s laying on the other side of the sofa with a book in his hand.

He sits up a little, leaning on his elbow and closing his book but catching a forefinger in between as not to lose the page he’s reading.

“Are you okay?” he asks as Jaebum absent-mindedly reaches back to rub at his aching back muscles. “Is your back acting up again?”

“Mhm,” he shrugs noncommittally. “I guess the hopping around today didn’t help the situation much,” he says offhandedly.

Jinyoung sits up completely then, feet on the floor and he leaves his book on the coffee table, spread open and face-down.

“I’m sorry you had to do that, hyung. You should’ve just said no, or given us a signal, Jackson would’ve come up with something else.”

Jaebum smiles a bit at the concern in his voice. He knows how worried all the members are when one of them injures himself, but Jinyoung is a special case – he mothers all of them in a caring, unobtrusive ways that warm Jaebum’s heart more than he’d like to admit. He also remembers how difficult it was for all of them when he couldn’t perform at their first concert after hurting his back, and how Jinyoung had told him that Youngjae cried when singing their duet alone and how not-fun the concert was because he was missing on the stage.

He doesn’t want him to worry his pretty head too much, however, knows well how stressed the younger can get and he wants to alleviate some of that stress, fulfill his duties as the leader but also as Jinyoung’s long-time friend.

“I’m fine,” he assures him, but Jinyoung raises an eyebrow suspiciously.

“Sure,” he says, “and that’s why you’re still rubbing your back like that. Come on, let me help,”

“It doesn’t hurt that bad, really,” he says again, but Jinyoung’s already there and pushing at him to lay stomach-down on the sofa.   

“Well luckily for you a brave prince saved you, huh,” he teases, mirth in his dark eyes as he climbs over Jaebum’s lower body to straddle him and massage his aching back muscles. His body is warm, a steady weight that Jaebum relaxes under, giving in and allowing himself to simply enjoy the moment.

Jinyoung’s good at massaging and his hands are a constant, heavenly pressure against the pain Jaebum feels and he is soon lulled into a drowsy state, pliant under the younger’s healing touch.

“Better?” Jinyoung asks some time later, and Jaebum hums, mumbling silent thanks under his breath.

It may be his sleepy state that does it, but when Jinyoung nods and moves to get up, presumably to continue reading his book, Jaebum’s hand catches his wrist before he can step away completely.

“Come here,” he whispers, tugging onto his wrist lightly – a request, not an order. He’s looking at Jinyoung with his head turned to the side, half of his face squished into the cushions. Jinyoung tilts his head to the side, a wordless question even if the corner of his lips quirks up in a small smile.

“Don’t make your hyung ask you twice, Jinyoung-ah,” he says, not unkindly. “Come lay with me for a minute.”

He turns to lay on his side and spreads his arms open for the younger to climb in between, an invitation.

Jinyoung gives in finally, sitting on the edge and then laying his slender body next to Jaebum’s, a perfectly fitting piece of the puzzle. There’s little space between them, but he pulls away when Jaebum wraps an arm around his waist and attempts to pull him closer into his chest.

“Your back, hyung,” he protests, and Jaebum tugs him a little firmer in response.

“My back is fine. Thankfully for me, a prince was there to save me,” he jokes, placating the younger in his worry. Jinyoung laughs softly at his own words being used against him and sighs contentedly, pressing close and wrapping an arm of his own around Jaebum’s middle. His warm palm settles reassuringly on the aching spot he massaged earlier and rubs there gently, little repetitive circles that make Jaebum’s body sag with relief and relax completely.

They don’t speak, content in their silence as Jaebum closes his eyes and simply enjoys Jinyoung’s easy, calm presence next to him. He’s warm and so soft, a caring hand continuously moving on his lower back, and Jaebum is soon lulled into sweet slumber with Jinyoung’s breath evening out on his neck.

 

∞∞∞

 

He wakes up in the morning, limbs tangled with Jinyoung’s until he’s not sure where one begins and the other ends. The younger is nearly falling of the couch, the arm that was wrapped around Jaebum so securely last night now stretched out uncomfortably on the floor, hanging off the limited space they have on the couch. However, despite the discomfort he must be feeling (similar to the one Jaebum now suffers from himself, he thinks with a jolt as he moves and sharp pain sparks up his spine from spending the night on the sofa and not in their respective beds), Jinyoung’s face is unbelievably relaxed in his sleep, peaceful. His gentle features are softened even further, beginnings of a barely-there stubble visible on his chin and rosy cheeks in the morning light, and Jaebum’s never been happier than in that moment, blessed with such a precious sight. It makes him giddy and definitely makes up for the entire discomfort he’s sure they both will have to deal with today, and he wishes to keep the image captured in his memories forever.

 

The thought of it also helps survive the teasing remarks and looks from the maknae line later when they all gather around the breakfast table. Even when Jackson and Mark join in at making fun of them for the position they were caught in before Jinyoung woke up, one look at the younger’s face flushed with embarrassment is enough. It makes it all worth it, and Jaebum sends a silent prayer to wake up to such a picture every morning, for the rest of his life.

Chapter Text

 

Unsurprisingly, the kids adore Youngjae. His loud laugh startles them at first, but soon they’re all drawn in by the sound and the sight of it, giggling along when he laughs over something probably only he and Bambam consider funny. Jaebum watches fondly from the other side of the room as Youngjae teaches two little boys how to play the basic melodies of “Old McDonald Had a Farm” on a plastic piano toy. They seem really interested, eyes wide as they take in the smooth movements of his fingers over the miniature piano keys. Jaebum hopes Youngjae gets a lot of screen time for that – it’s at least something he can support wholeheartedly, as opposed to Yugyeom’s 15+ rated dance that he tried to perform for the children this morning. Jaebum had to drag him off of the floor, leader mode on, and proceeded to flick the younger’s forehead until he regretted his poor decision.

He shakes his head as he thinks of it, and turns around instead to watch as Bambam attempts to get a group of kids to copy his dabbing. He groans internally, head falling down so that he can rest his forehead against the table. His group members certainly have some… special qualities to them.

He sits like that for a while, occasionally lifting his head up to look over the children and members alike as they engage in different activities, until a hand taps him on the shoulder. He startles, turning his head around only to come face to face with Jinyoung. The close proximity is unexpected, especially since he didn’t hear the younger sneaking up behind him, and he pulls back a little bit. Jinyoung’s mouth twists into a smile at his reaction and he straightens up slowly, arms tightening around a child Jaebum just now notices rests on his right hip. The small girl has a pacifier in her mouth and seems to be completely uncaring about Jinyoung jostling her a bit.

“Hyung, what are you doing over here, all by yourself?” Jinyoung asks, voice gentle like when he talks to children.

Jaebum closes his eyes and groans quietly.

“I attempted to look over the maknaes so we don’t get a repetition of this morning’s scene again, but I just got a headache from their actions,” he complains, and it’s not really uncommon between them – the older members always seemed to have it easy with confiding in each other, although Jaebum always tried to be there for the others more. It serves as solid proof that he was indeed the best choice for the leader of their group.

“Ah,” Jinyoung clicks his tongue, smiling still. “You’ll get wrinkles frowning like that, let them be. The staff will edit out any… /controversial/ scenes, you know,” he soothes.

Jaebum nods, unwilling to discuss it further, and Jinyoung pats his shoulder again, this time in a comforting manner.

“Come on, cheer up. You’ll make someone cry again with that serious face,” he teases, but pulls back immediately, soothing the subtle jab. “How about you go out with me into the front yard to watch over some kids? Some of the older ones are at the playground, it’d help to have another person there.”

It sounds tempting and, well, it’s with Jinyoung, so he doesn’t waste a moment to make a decision and accepts immediately. For some reason they haven’t really spent much time together after waking up in each other’s embrace three days ago, and Jaebum already misses him. He wonders idly if Jinyoung’s been avoiding him on purpose, but ultimately decides against the thought, sure that Jinyoung would opt for a more direct way of confrontation in case something was truly wrong between them. He’s always been very mature about his relationships, even more so when it can affect the group’s dynamics as well – and Jinyoung is nothing if not a professional.

The second thing he comes up with is that Jinyoung’s stayed away from him because of embarrassment over their members’ teasing, and he’s not sure what to do with the thought since it’s not their first time falling asleep together like that – although it admittedly is the first time it happened where everyone could see them. Maybe that’s why?

He ponders over it a bit more as they walk outside, Jinyoung still carrying the small babe on his hip and cooing at her softly to entertain her. Jaebum watches, side-eyed, and finds himself smiling unconsciously at how cute it all is.

Once outside, Jinyoung disappears from his side to carefully place the baby into a swing and sway her back and forth a little. The kid giggles, the pacifier still in her mouth and nearly falling out. Jinyoung taps on it with a gentle finger, making sure it doesn’t fall to the dirty ground beneath them.

Jaebum observes the way he’s bent over the kid in the swing, his soft cheeks and careful hands, and for a moment he wishes he could watch Jinyoung take care of a child at all times – maybe just the two of them and a little child, theirs, somewhere far away where no one knows them. It’s a silly thought, but it makes Jaebum smile a little nevertheless, and he shakes his head at himself. He needs to stop being ridiculous and daydreaming about Jinyoung like that.

To prevent similar thoughts from appearing again, he heads over to the other side of the playground and joins a group of boys running around playfully. They chase each other, screaming in delight and Jaebum narrowly catches a little boy about to fall when he runs past him. The kid giggles as Jaebum lifts him up to see if he’s okay and demands he be put down “now now now!” so he can keep on playing. Jaebum sighs and lets him down, warning him lightly about being careful.

It happens barely a second later and Jaebum hasn’t even stood up straight when a sharp cry pierces the air around him. His body turns towards the source of the sound automatically, eyes searching for the culprit, and finally notices two boys on the group. It’s pure instinct that makes him rush forward, kneeling beside them once he’s close enough.

“Hey- hey, what happened here?”

No one answers him but one of the kids is sitting on the ground, big tears rolling down his cheeks and mournful little sobs escaping his mouth. His hands are clutching his knee and Jaebum guesses he fell down and hurt himself. The other boy gnaws at his fingernails nervously and bounces on his feet next to Jaebum.

“He fell down! Hyung, he tripped and fell down!”

Jaebum nods, thanking the boy for telling him and rubs a hand through the crying child’s hair. He then wipes the tears from his cheeks although they keep on coming in a never-ending stream.

“Can you let hyung see your knee, Jungho-ah, can you show me where it hurts?”

The other kids have by now gathered around them too, but Jaebum pay them no mind, all focus on the hurting boy. He doesn’t know where the courage comes from, nor knowing what to say, but he’s glad for it anyway.

Jungho takes his hands away slightly and Jaebum can see that there’s a long scratch down his knee, a bit bloody and definitely needing to be wiped down with alcohol. He shushes the boy again, praising him for being brave and showing him where the boo-boo is. It’s not that serious, but Jaebum would rather not risk.

In his worry, he doesn’t notice that Jinyoung has come closer too, the little baby now back in his arms. He biting his lips worriedly, hands itching to reach for the crying baby, but he’s impressed by how well Jaebum is handling the situation and doesn’t want to interrupt. He seems to be doing just fine, so he stays on the side and watches, admiring.

Jaebum stands up and Jinyoung moves back a step to give him space. He still hasn’t noticed Jinyoung as he bends down to pick the whimpering child up, but when he turns around and nearly runs into him, his cheeks flush suddenly.

“Oh, Nyeong-ah,” he says dumbly and Jinyoung smiles quickly.

“Hey hyung,” he says and motions to the child with his chin. “Take him inside and let’s clean the scratch up, yeah? I’m coming with you.”

Jaebum nods and they both walk inside, Jinyoung following after ushering all the kids inside. They don’t want any of them unsupervised on the playground, especially not after one of them just got hurt.

When he does come closer he sees the child sitting on a stool and Jaebum kneeling before him, his little hurt leg stretched out on Jaebum’s lap. Jaebum is dabbing at the wound with a cotton pad which Jinyoung assumes is drenched in alcohol, because the kid keeps whining and Jaebum keeps clicking his tongue rhythmically as the rubs the skin down in quick strokes.

“Such a brave boy you are, Jungho-yah! There, all done, it doesn’t hurt much anymore, does it?”

Jinyoung smiles at his words – when did Jaebum, awkward Jaebum, become this good at talking to kids? It’s endearing to see, truly.

Jungho nods but complains that his knee still aches, so Jaebum produces a pack of superhero themed band-aids and lets the boy pick the one he likes the most. It’s a Superman one, and Jinyoung watches with fond eyes as Jaebum bends down to press a quick kiss onto the “magically healing” boo-boo. He places the band-aid over it right after, pressing lightly to make sure it stays in place.

“Okay, there you go. It should be all fine now, yeah? You’re a big boy, Jungho-ya, this will be fine in no time,” he consoles and the kid sniffs but nods gratefully.

“Thank you Jaebum-hyung,” he says, and Jaebum ruffles his hair again.

“This was nothing, kiddo. Don’t run around like that again, yeah? Be careful.”

He lets him go with a pat on his butt and stays kneeling like that even after the children are long gone. Jinyoung stays in his spot too, and they make eye contact. It’s the first time Jaebum truly acknowledges him throughout the entire situation, but it’s okay. Jinyoung really wishes to talk him but now it not the time nor place, not with cameras all around them.

He nods at Jaebum instead, relaying a silent message that he’s sure his hyung can understand. Jaebum smiles in response and Jinyoung thinks that yeah, he definitely understands.

 

∞∞∞

 

Jinyoung walks into the playroom hours later only to stumble upon the sight of Jaebum b-boying, body stretching in a handstand. There’s a group of boys surrounding him cheering loudly, happy yells echoing in the spacious room.

Jinyoung watches curiously as Jaebum dances, body twisting this and that way as he sometimes shows off on various TV shows, and he can’t help but smile when he notices how impressed the children are. It seems like Jaebum’s found his own little group of followers among the children, Jinyoung thinks amusedly, the boys drawn in by his caring nature that finally shone through today and the cool dance moves that he displays in front of them.

He wonders whether Jaebum’s back is going to hurt after this though, but shakes the worry away and decides instead that he can always give his hyung another massage if need be.

Lips stretching into another proud smile as Jaebum does a backflip, Jinyoung hears a boy excitedly telling his friend that this is the /coolest/ hyung ever. Jinyoung surely agrees, and hopes silently that the nickname will stick.

 

 

Chapter Text

Jaebum has just washed up and is getting ready for bed when someone knocks on the door of his bedroom. He’s still struggling to pull his shirt down properly but he yells for whoever’s on the other side to come in anyway. It’s not like they haven’t all seen each other’s bodies at some point.

The doors open and Jinyoung walks in, and Jaebum’s body suddenly feels a thousand times lighter.

“Oh, Nyeong-ah,” he says, smiling. It’s been way too long since they had a moment of privacy like this, without the cameras around them or curious eyes following their every movement.

“Hey, hyung,” Jinyoung says, waving a hand loosely towards Jaebum’s unmade bed. “Can I sit?”

Jaebum just nods, finishing dressing up and watching as Jinyoung walks over and makes himself comfortable on his bed. He looks warm, soft. He looks like he belongs there, between Jaebum’s messy sheets and surrounded by his smell.

“You did a really good job today, hyung.”

Jaebum looks at his in surprise, lips quirking in a smile.

“Yeah?”

Jinyoung nods seriously. “Of course you did! You were really good with them, the kids loved you,” he says.

Jaebum smiles proudly, finally walking over to sit next to him and relax.

“Thank you, Jinyoung-ah.”

Jinyoung nods, and they’re quiet for a second, although it’s not uncomfortable – it’s never uncomfortable with Jinyoung. Jaebum sighs happily and leans back, laying on his bed sideways. He hears Jinyoung chuckle and pats the spot next to him blindly.

Jinyoung complies without a word, allowing his body to fall down and turning so he can curl into Jaebum’s side. His leg ends up thrown over Jaebum’s thighs and he snuggles a bit closer, seeking warmth from Jaebum’s body.

“I’m really happy we’re doing this program, you know,” he says, and Jinyoung hums next to him. Jaebum feels the vibrations all through his chest.

“Me too. It’s really nice doing a program that doesn’t feel as serious – the children are adorable, it almost feels like a vacation instead.”

Jaebum rubs his arm a little, smiling at how Jinyoung’s talking about children. He can’t deny he loves it too – both spending time with the kids (although they didn’t quite seem to like him much at the beginning), as well getting to see Jinyoung take care of children. It’s adorable how all he focuses on are exclusively children and nothing else, Jaebum thinks. It’s quiet again for a while until Jinyoung asks:

“What are you thinking about, hyung?”

/You/, Jaebum wants to say. /You, because you’re only thing I ever think about/, but he doesn’t. Instead he shrugs his shoulders as much as he can in this position, jostling Jinyoung a little bit.

“What kind of question is that, Jinyoung-ah?”

He watches as Jinyoung lifts his head from where it’s been nestled somewhere between Jaebum’s shoulder and chest, and Jinyoung looks him in the eyes. He looks warm, soft like this. He looks Jaebum’s.

“I’m curious… I was thinking about you, hyung, you know?”

Jaebum’s breath gets caught for a moment, but Jinyoung ignores it, goes on like he would lose all courage to speak if he stopped now.

“You- you just looked so capable, hyung, and I know you usually are – you take such good care of all of us, and you’re producing music for us and doing all those different things – I just,” he hiccups, looking away like he doesn’t know what to do with himself. It’s unlike Jinyoung to be this flustered, this nervous suddenly. Jaebum watches silently as he takes in a deep breath and continues. “I know we never talked about it, hyung, this between us, but I can’t pretend there’s nothing, you know? I hate looking at you and not being able to touch you, and I hate not being able to be close to you all the time, and having to come up with excuses to spend time with you – I just want to know if you feel the same,” he finishes in one breath.

His brown eyes find Jaebum’s again, expectant and unblinking, and so, so beautiful.

Jaebum doesn’t think – he leans in and kisses him.

There’s a sharp gasp from Jinyoung’s side, an intake of breath – and then, slowly, clumsy mouth moves against his own, testing and prodding. Their lips meet in the middle, and Jaebum opens his eyes for a second just to see Jinyoung’s closed blissfully, a pinkish blush rising high on his cheekbones.  They kiss for a while, getting used to each other, exploring how it feel to have their lips connected like this. Jinyoung breaks away for a soft laugh when their teeth clash, eager – and then he’s leaning in again, softer this time.

Jinyoung’s still curled up into him but Jaebum thinks the position must be uncomfortable – his head is turned awkwardly to be able to reach Jaebum’s lips so he breaks their kiss for a moment to pull Jinyoung fully on top of him. He lets him get comfortable, laying back to relax into the mattress as Jinyoung leans down so they’re face to face – mouth to mouth.

There’s no fireworks, no sudden explosions behind his eyelids – it’s calm, fitting pieces of the puzzle falling into place. Kissing Jinyoung is like breathing in fresh air, like finally finding his place in the world – like coming home.

He wraps his arms tightly around Jinyoung’s waist and squeezes, needing to reassure himself he’s real. Jinyoung’s response is a light moan, and Jaebum breaks away to look at him, to take in the flushed cheeks and the bright smile.

“Hyung,” Jinyoung whispers conspiratorially, “what does this mean?”

And for the first time this evening, Jaebum doesn’t feel the need to bite his lip and swallow back the words dancing on the tip of his tongue.

“It’s means you’re mine, Jinyoung-ah,” he says, and Jinyoung’s eye whiskers show when he smiles brilliantly.

“And it means I’m yours.”

 

∞∞∞

 

Jaebum is over the moon the next day and even the kids notice. It’s their last day of filming and he should be more focused on leaving a last good impression, but it’s difficult to stay away from Jinyoung’s hypnotizing smile. Jaebum gravitates to him, sticks close to where Jinyoung is even when he’s unaware of doing it.

They gather the kids around at one point, pencils and crayons spread around them messily. The drawing class begins with Yugyeom’s /very/ realistic drawing of Bambam – a small head on top, barely visible, and all long legs underneath. The children laugh and cheer as Yugyeom defends his drawing and Bambam gets up to strut down the room like he’s on a fashion show, not missing the opportunity to show off his long legs.

Jaebum looks over to where Jinyoung is holding a kid in his lap and balancing a notebook on his right knee. He seems to be drawing something seriously, and the child in his lap giggles and points at something on the paper.

He can barely hold in a snort when Jinyoung deems his work finished and turns the paper around for Jaebum to see, mischief in his eyes. There, on the paper, is what’s meant to be Jaebum – thin lines representing his eyes, baggy clothes drawn in messy strokes and two unmistakable dots over his left eye, his moles.

It’s a bit childish, but it’s not bad and Jaebum shakes his head fondly. He pats the kid’s head and the little girl squeals. In return, Jaebum draws a small face surrounded by a huge pink peachy fruit, and the kids around them chant “Peachy Prince!” as Jinyoung covers his pretty smile with a hand. Jaebum nods to himself, satisfied.

 

∞∞∞

 

It’s simple, easy to fall into this with Jinyoung. They’re undeniably comfortable around each other and Jaebum likes the feeling a lot. They’ve spent too much time together anyway, as friends, that it only feels natural to explore the new boundaries and take tentative first steps in their relationship.

Now, Jinyoung sits with his legs crossed and keeps a small girl on his lap. He’s attempting to feed her peas that she apparently strongly dislikes, and not even Jinyoung’s coddling and sweet coaxing can get her to eat the food she doesn’t think tastes good.

Jaebum sits next to him, trying to help but he truly only stares as Jinyoung calls her “baby pea” and other sweet names to convince her that peas are /good/. Eventually he ends up distracting the girl rather than helping Jinyoung as he imitates airplanes and attempts to tickle Jinyoung’s ribs until the younger is squirming with the babe still in his lap, jostled around slightly by his movements.

“Hyung, go away, you’re not helping,” he complains half-heartedly.

“Go away? Aw, you wound me, Jinyoung-ah,” he exclaims dramatically, a hand on his heart and head thrown back. He pouts pitifully at the little girl. “You don’t want me to leave, do you? You’re not mean like Youngie, are you?”

He keeps his eyes trained at the girl’s toothy laugh as she shakes her head, but he catches Jinyoung mouthing “ Youngie? ” at him over the little girl’s head.

He smiles back. Youngie. His Youngie.

 

∞∞∞

 

The last segment of their show is letting the children pick their favourites, and it turns into a real competition. They all line up with toys in hands to lure the kids their way, waving and smiling. Jaebum’s not expecting much, but he still hopes he won’t get last place – the maknaes would never let him live it down.

One by one, the children make their choices and most of them immediately run up to Jinyoung, not sparing a single glance at the other members. Mark gets a lot of attention too, especially from the girls.

Two little boys (when the line of kids still waiting to take their pick has gotten disturbingly small) come Jaebum’s way at last, and the room erupts in a teasing applause as Jaebum cheers loudly and bends down to pick the boys up and swirl them around. He’s not doing much better than he did at the beginning of the filming, but it’s fine. Jinyoung is there to comfort him with a gentle hand on his back, assuring him it’s fine and that Yugyeom played dirty, using his height as an advantage to carry the children around on his shoulders and score extra points that way.

Jaebum thinks he doesn’t mind not being picked by the kids after all, for as long as he has Jinyoung’s smile directed at him at all times. And with the children making noise in the background, the staff packing up and their members screaming over dinner plans, Jaebum looks at Jinyoung and falls in love all over again.

 

xxx The end xxx